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What Do You Disclose When Selling a Home?

Dated: June 4 2021

Views: 65

Here’s what you have to disclose when selling your property.

Recently one of my seller clients asked if there was a requirement in terms of disclosing an obviously bad foundation. That question inspired today’s topic: What you as a seller have to disclose when selling your home. 

First of all, you’re required to disclose any known defects in the house. Your agent will provide you with an owner’s property disclosure, which will walk you through all aspects of the house. Your job is to fill this document out as completely as possible. Please include any known defects in the house, including any past water leaks, mold treatments, faulty electric wiring, a crack in the foundation, etc. You should disclose any item you know of that would negatively affect the value of the house in terms of its health, function, or safety. 

If you’re not sure whether or not something is a defect, disclose it anyway. For example, you may know the house has a leaky faucet but don’t know the cause—go ahead and disclose that. If there’s a crack in the foundation but you don’t know whether or not it represents a structural concern, disclose that too. 

" If you know of any issues plaguing your home, it’s always best to disclose them."

Let’s say you hear from an expert that there is a problem with the house. Maybe you’ve consulted with a plumber, electrician, or structural engineer and they’ve provided (in writing) information regarding what’s wrong with your house. Those reports and any other information you have must be disclosed. These people are experts, and their opinions matter more than your casual review of a dripping faucet. 

I’ve seen situations where the home seller knew about a structural problem but didn’t disclose it. Unfortunately, in one situation, the buyer bought the house without knowing about this problem (a bad foundation) and ended up suing the seller because the problem wasn’t disclosed. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of a bad situation like this, so your best bet is to disclose, disclose, disclose. 

Finally, you might consider giving your house a pre-inspection. This will help you identify any item that needs to be addressed. It could be small things, like caulking the siding or fixing a leaking faucet. All of these things will provide a better sense of how you care for your property when you sell. You can also provide this inspection to a potential buyer to give them peace of mind. 

The bottom line is that if you know of any issues plaguing your home, it’s always best to disclose them. It’s the safest way for you to have a smooth transaction. 

If you have questions about what you need to disclose when selling your house or there’s anything else I can help you with, call or email me. I’d love to hear from you. 

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Nancy Brook

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